Archive for May, 2009

May 11, 2009

Year 2, Week 47 Results: .05 oz of plastic waste

Here’s this week’s tally with a few announcements at the bottom of the post. And a request!

All new plastic waste:

1 plastic envelope window. From Financial West Group. They still do not offer online only statements.

1 plastic drinking straw. Doh! I’m usually so diligent about requesting no plastic straw when ordering drinks. But last night, at Herbivore Restaurant in Berkeley, I threw caution and diligence to the wind, impulsively ordering a mai tai and suffering the plastic consequences. Oh, I had my GlassDharma straw with me. But my drink arrived with the unwrapped plastic straw already in it, so I couldn’t send it back to be reused.

That’s it for the week.Announcement: Oakland rocks. I love my city, and next week even more, as the City Council has decided to publicly commend Oakland company Brita, Oakland store Whole Foods, and Oakland resident Beth Terry, for our joint roles in support of Brita water filter … Read the rest

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May 8, 2009

May is National Bike Month. Will you give biking a try?

I love my bike. In fact, I’m itching to get out and get on it right now, so this post will be short and sweet. After writing posts about driving, walking, and taking public transit, I’ve saved biking for last because it’s become my favorite. Which is funny since until I got this bike in July of last year, I was afraid of the two-wheeled beasts.

I mentioned two days ago that my community is great for walking. It’s also great for biking, Oakland being included in the U.S. Census’s Top 10 Cities for Biking. (Portland is Number One. Kansas City, MO is last.) And now, there are financial incentives to commute by bike: this year, the The Bicycle Commuter Act went into effect. You can get Commuter Checks through your employer to reimburse bike commuting expenses.

Ironically, commuting is the one thing I don’t do on my bike… since my job is 18 miles away across the bay. But I run errands, grocery shop, and do pretty much … Read the rest

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May 7, 2009

Buses & Trains: Going on a power trip

I spend several hours per week sitting quietly in a big plastic box. No, it’s not a new form of therapy. It’s BART. (Bay Area Rapid Transit.)

While I’ve transferred most of my medical and other services to within walking or biking distance of my home, I still have to commute roughly 18 miles each way to my job, which is located on the other side of the San Francisco Bay in Daly City. As I mentioned on Tuesday, we’ve chosen our home location to be within walking distance of a BART station. Fortunately, my office is even closer to a BART station on the other end.

As with walking and driving, public transit has its pros and cons.

PROS

Public Transit uses less energy than individual cars. In fact, BART has a carbon calculator as part of its Quick Trip Planner which will let you know how much carbon you save on the trip compared to driving. One leg of my commute on BART saves 18 pounds of CO2. Yes, we’re still going on a power trip. Just not… Read the rest

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May 6, 2009

Out of the seat and onto our feet. But is walking really plastic-free?

Monday was a beautiful day for the race — the human race, as Michael likes to say. And although rain appeared imminent, I decided to take a walk. As I mentioned a few months ago, I’ve slowly been switching my healthcare, dental, and other services to providers located within walking distance of my home. Less time on public transit. More time in the fresh air. My groovy new green dentist’s office is 12 minutes away via bicycle and 30-40 minutes on foot, depending on how leisurely I feel and how much time I have.

As with each of the modes of transportation I’m considering this week, walking has its pros and cons.

PROS:

Although I live in an urban area with shops and services within walking distance, my walk is beautiful. Okay, that’s not fair. I live in California where flowers bloom all year round. But honestly, I can find something interesting to look at wherever I happen to be.

Walking is great exercise. Why would I take the… Read the rest

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May 5, 2009

Eco-Driving is great. But how about less driving in the first place?

May is EcoDriving Month. I don’t know who decided this, but it’s fine with me if designating a month will encourage drivers to learn strategies for lessening their fuel consumption and emissions while driving. In fact, EcoDriving USA is an advertiser on Fake Plastic Fish this month. Click the ad on the left sidebar to learn tips for driving and maintaining your car in a conscientious manner.

Keep in mind, however, that EcoDriving USA is a project of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. So while the site gives strategies for better driving, it never mentions the idea of driving less to begin with. Avoiding rapid stops and starts is a good idea. Walking, getting on your bike, or taking public transit are even better.

I’m not here to tell you that driving is bad. I don’t own a car myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t drive occasionally. Some communities are set up for car-free living (like the neighborhood … Read the rest

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May 4, 2009

Year 2, Week 46 Results: 1.8 oz of plastic waste PLUS Earth Day Winner!

I’m back from my meditation retreat, where I slept many, many hours. Felt like I was straddling the line between flu and health. Maybe it was just ordinary tiredness. In any case, the takeaway was a profound lesson: “Don’t push the river.” I know what the phrase means to me. What does it say to you?

Before I get on with the week’s plastic tally, the random winner of the 2009 Earth Day Less Plastic Pledge Giveaway is: Sharonus. Please contact me with your mailing address. You will receive two beautiful GlassDharma drinking straws as well as two ChicoBags kindly donated for this contest by Alline of Milkweed Mercantile who blogs at A Passion For Green Business. You won’t forget and leave your ChicoBags in the car if you carry them in your purse or backpack!

And now, here is this week’s tally. Plastic acquired before the plastic project began:… Read the rest

1 PET plastic jar of Masala Chai instant spiced tea blend plus lid.

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May 1, 2009

Living Green in Oklahoma

The following is a guest post from Lisa Sharp of Retro Housewife Goes Green. Until last weekend, getting hooked on that U.S. map puzzle, I didn’t know Oklahoma was shaped like a jagged meat cleaver. Did you?

It’s not as easy as San Francisco. Now areas like Norman, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Edmond are easier than the small town where I live.

Our farmer’s market is very small and isn’t year round. There is a year round, indoor farmers market in Oklahoma City, but that is around 80 miles from me.

Locally we have a very small natural food store, Wal-Mart, and a few locally-owned grocery stores. There is very little organic/natural food in this town. My husband and I drive around 60 miles once a month to do our grocery shopping in Norman in order to get organic, local and natural food.

One great thing we have is a dairy store called Braums (some of you in the south will know what it is). We get our milk there, as they do not use hormones or antibiotics.… Read the rest

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